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Project to save single-use plastic during Ramadan

29th Apr 2022

Hamed Chapman

A pioneering project was launched during Ramadan to reduce single-use plastic at Muslim community events while breaking fast to save up to seven tonnes of waste in the southwest of England.

The organisers, Projects Against Plastic (PAP), worked with representatives from mosques in Bristol to find sustainable ways to serve food and drink at Iftar events after sunset.

“Protecting the environment is an important aspect of Islam. I believe we all have a responsibility to look after our planet as best we can,” said PAP Founder Naseem Talukdar.

“With clear messaging, better awareness and some simple actions, we are able to tackle plastic pollution as a community,” Talukdar said.

It is estimated that a typical mosque can use up to 3,000 water bottles and 2,000 plastic plates and cutlery sets when serving meals during Iftar. As part of a pilot project before Covid in 2019, a water fountain and a dishwasher were installed, reducing waste by some 70 per cent. The mosques that were involved in this year’s project ‘Plastic Free Ramadan’ were part of the Bristol Muslim Strategic Leadership Group (BMSLG), set up to develop and strengthen Muslim communities in Bristol. It was set to be rolled out across the UK.

‘Working with partnership projects such as this allows Muslim communities to contribute towards their environmental goals,” Sheila El Dieb, Environmental Task Group Chair of BMSLG, said.

Organisers held events to raise awareness while installing dishwashers and reusable dishware at seven mosques taking part: Easton Jamia Masjid; Green Bank Mosque, Hazrat Bilal Centre in St Pauls; Bristol Jamia Mosque in Totterdown; Tawfiq Masjid & Centre in Barton Hill, Faizan-E-Madina and Jalalabad Centre, both in Fishponds.

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said, “If Bristol is to be a truly sustainable city, we must reduce the amount of plastic we use. Projects like this will make a valuable contribution to our goals.”

Talukdar, who works in the food industry and has previously helped the homeless, hosted Curry and Conversation sessions across the South-West to look at environmental issues and practical solutions, including holding workshops at several mosques.

“My work in takeaways, restaurants and with the homeless has heightened my awareness of the huge amount of plastic used in the industry,” he said. In recognition of his contribution to the city, he received the High Sheriff’s Award from the Lord-Lieutenant of Bristol, for projects such as Food4NHS, which delivered free hot meals to thousands of healthcare staff.

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